Genesis 32:21-24 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL – Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 9

Posted: October 29, 2016 in Genesis 32
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Genesis 32:21-24 – HOW TO HANDLE THE GREATEST CONFLICT OF ALL

Instructions in Diplomatic Integrity – Part 9

Jacob is preparing to come face to face with Esau. The meeting could be explosive. (see part 1-8).

The stress of conflict can easily consume us and have an impact on all our relationships. What can Jacob teach us about this?

  1. MINIMISE THE STRESS OF CONFLICT ON OTHERS

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© Battle Shield. Picture created by Ross Cochrane.

“So the gifts were sent on ahead, while Jacob himself spent that night in the camp. During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them” (Genesis 32:21-22 NLT).

People are more important than profit. Family is more important than our personal battles. Sending his family over the brook in the cover of darkness, Jacob hopes they will be shielded and safe. “After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions” (Genesis 32:23 NLT). 

Possessions are less important than protecting the people you love.

Jacob remains in camp. He is not a coward. He is not retreating. His servants are still moving forward with his gifts to Esau. He is not returning the birthright or blessing to Esau with these gifts, but making restitution for the sinful way in which they were obtained. He is not negating his birthright or blessing by his offering, but proving that God has indeed blessed him and he is able to give to Esau of the proceeds by way of reparation. Sooner or later they will meet.

Now Jacob is left alone. He has prayed, and offered restitution. What could possibly go wrong?

  1. BE WILLING TO FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN

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© Ready for Spiritual Battle. Image created by Ross Cochrane

“This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break” (Genesis 32:24 NLT). 

So it’s come to this. A fight behind the back shed. Hopefully, it won’t come to a literal wrestling match for us but Ephesians 6:10-20 tells us we can expect to be in a spiritual battle. We are told to put on God’s armour, to stay alert and be prepared so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. But it seems that Jacob is in a spiritual battle of a very different nature.

Jacob is assaulted by someone waiting in the dark. So who is this man? Why does he want to wrestle with Jacob? Is this one of Esau’s Assassins trying to kill Jacob? No. A troll-like guardian of the river? (Let’s not get ridiculous). This would freak me out. Is this a dream?

It is just not acceptable for God’s diplomat to be rolling around on the ground fighting with an unknown assailant. He wanted to be alone and now there’s no-one to help him. Where are the angels when you need them? When he first arrived he had seen the angels. They seem to be up in the stands somewhere, unseen, but viewing the spiritual battle that is taking place.

The opponent is stated to be a man. Why he gets into a wrestling match, we don’t know. Jacob has always gained victory in his life through deceit. Now he is humbled by honest contest.

And Jacob is no spring chicken. He’s 97 years old. The adrenaline that rushed through his body because of this sudden assault enables him to hold his own. He’s a wiry old bloke. And he’s fighting for what he believes in.

But what happens when you fight for what you believe in and it doesn’t all go as you expected? (Find out in Part 10, coming soon).

Pastor Ross

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